News: HPRS faculty participate in seminar on religious tolerance at Karaganda State University

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The faculty of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies continue the program of inter-institutional cooperation with the Department of History of Kazakhstan of Lev Gumiliov Eurasian National University and the Center of Ethno-Cultural and Historical-Anthropological Studies of Ievnei Buketov Karaganda State University. Last year in the program’s framework a round table and an international conference devoted to the 100th Anniversary of 1917 October Revolution had been organized. These events took place at ENU and NU.

This time the faculty of all three cooperating universities gathered at KarSU to take part in the seminar focused on the problems of religious policies of the Russian Empire and the USSR. The seminar was convened by professor of KarSU, a well known Kazakhstani historian Zauresh Saktaganova with assistance of ENU and NU professors Gulnar Musabalina and Nikolay Tsyrempilov. Arailym Musagaliyeva, Rozaliya Garipova, Daniel Scarborough and Curtis Murphy presented their papers at the seminar.

The papers discussed the issues of status and position of Jewish minority in the Polish towns of the 19th century Russian Empire, transformations of traditional family law in Volga-Ural region, interpretations of canonical law by Orthodox circles at the time of 1917 Revolution, suppression of religious communities of deported Germans in Soviet Kazakhstan and peculiarities of the Soviet anti-religious policy in Kazakh SSR. The audience which consisted of faculty and students of ENU and KarSU showed great interest to the papers. Each presentation raised numerous questions and sparked hot discussions. It was decided at the seminar that participants should continue discussions of the topic at the forthcoming international conference that will take place at NU in the early October.

On the way back to Astana the delegations of ENU and NU visited Karlag Museum in Dolinka of Karaganda district. Arailym Musagaliyeva, a leading Kazakhstani expert in Stalin’s Purge, conducted the excursion in the Museum. The expositions and detailed commentaries of the expert strongly impressed the visitors. As Nikolay Tsyrempilov noticed, “that the memory of the people whose lives had been ruined or destroyed by the repressive state is being carefully preserved in Kazakhstan with assistance of the president and government deserves deep respect”.

Профессора Департамента истории, философии и религиоведения продолжают программу межуниверситетского сотрудничества с Кафедрой истории Казахстана Евразийского национального университета им. Л. Н. Гумилева и Центром этнокультурных и историко-антропологических исследований Карагандинского государственного университета им. Е. А. Букетова. В рамках этой программы а прошлом году проводились круглый стол и международная конференция, посвященные столетию Революции 1917 года. Мероприятия эти проводились на базе ЕНУ и Назарбаев университета. На этот раз ученые трех партнерских университетов собрались в стенах КарГУ на семинар по религиоведческой тематике. Главной темой семинара стали особенности политики религиозной терпимости и нетерпимости в Российской империи и СССР.

Семинар был организован профессором КарГУ, известным казахстанским историком Зауреш Галимжановной Сактагановой, поддержку которой оказали со своей стороны профессора ЕНУ и НУ Г. Т. Мусабалина и Н. В. Цыремпилов. На семинаре свои доклады представили Арайлым Мусагалиева, Розалия Гарипова, Дэниэл Скарборо и Кертис Мерфи. В докладах обсуждались проблемы статуса и положения евреев в польских городах Российской империи XIX века, трансформаций мусульманского брачного права в Волго-уральском регионе, интерпретации канонического права в православных кругах в эпоху Революции 1917 года, подавления религиозных общин депортированных немцев в советском Казахстане, а также особенности антирелигиозной политики СССР в период хрущевской оттепели. Аудитория, состоявшая из профессоров и студентов ЕНУ и КарГУ, с большим интересом восприняла доклады. Каждый из них вызвал волны дискуссий и массу вопросов. На семинаре было принято решение продолжить обсуждение данной тематики в рамках совместной научной конференции, которая пройдет на базе Назарбаев университета в октябре этого года.

На обратном пути делегация ЕНУ им. Гумилева и Назарбаев университета посетили музей Карлага в поселке Долинка Карагандинской области. Экскурсию по музею провела крупнейший в Казахстане специалист по истории сталинских репрессий Арайлым Мусагалиева. Посещение музея и подробный рассказ эксперта произвело на всех посетителей очень сильное впечатление. «То, что память об погубленных и искалеченных репрессивным государством жизнях людей бережно хранится в Казахстане при поддержке президента и правительства, вызывает глубокое уважение», – заметил после посещения музея Николай Цыремпилов.

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Publication: Beben on the Ismailis of Central Asia

We are pleased to announce a new publication from HPRS Prof. Daniel Beben:

“The Ismaili in Central Asia” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History (Oxford University Press, 2018)

The article may be accessed online here.  A summary is provided below.

In addition, last fall Dr. Beben gave a paper presentation at a workshop hosted at the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) in London, where he also participated in a panel interview on research and conservation efforts with Ismaili manuscripts.  A video of the presentation and interview may be found on the IIS website here.

Article summary:

The Ismailis are one of the largest Muslim minority populations of Central Asia, and they make up the second largest Shiʿi Muslim community globally. First emerging in the second half of the 8th century, the Ismaili missionary movement spread into many areas of the Islamic world in the 10th century, under the leadership of the Ismaili Fatimid caliphs in Egypt. The movement achieved astounding success in Central Asia in the 10th century, when many of the political and cultural elites of the region were converted. However, a series of repressions over the following century led to its almost complete disappearance from the metropolitan centers of Central Asia. The movement later re-emerged in the mountainous Badakhshan region of Central Asia (which encompasses the territories of present-day eastern Tajikistan and northeastern Afghanistan), where it was introduced by the renowned 11th-century Persian poet, philosopher, and Ismaili missionary Nasir-i Khusraw. Over the following centuries the Ismaili movement expanded among the populations of Badakhshan, reaching a population of over 200,000 in the 21st century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Ismailis suffered a series of severe repressions, first under local Sunni Muslim rulers and later under the antireligious policies of the Soviet Union. However, in the decades since the end of the Soviet period, the Ismailis of the region have become increasingly connected with the global Ismaili community and its leadership. While many aspects of the history of Ismailism in the Badakhshan region remain obscure and unexplored, the discoveries of significant corpuses of manuscripts in private collections since the 1990s in the Badakhshan region have opened up wide possibilities for future research.

Student Capstone Presentation: Assel Uvaliyeva on the Anti-Nuclear Movement in Soviet Kazakhstan

The Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at NU would like to invite you to the public presentation of the History capstone project by Assel Uvaliyeva:

“The Anti-Nuclear Movement as a Center-Periphery Crisis in the Kazakh SSR”

Wednesday 2 May at 16:00 in 8.140

Please join us to celebrate our student’s achievement. Pizza and light refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Publication: Beben on the Fatimids in Ismaili Historical Memory

Fatimid caliphateWe are pleased to announce a new publication from HPRS Prof. Daniel Beben:

“The Fatimid Legacy and the Foundation of the Modern Nizārī Imamate.” In The Fatimid Caliphate: Diversity of Traditions, ed. Farhad Daftary and Shainool Jiwa (London: I. B. Tauris, 2017), pp. 192-216

A copy of the paper may be accessed here.

Abstract:

This article examines the place of the Ismaili Fatimid state (909-1171) within the cultural memory of the Nizari Ismailis, who departed from the Fatimids following a schism in 1095.  This article demonstrates that the emphasis placed on the Fatimid era in present-day Nizari historical discourse is a relatively recent development, rooted in the dynamic changes that occurred in the social and political context of the community in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rather than the Fatimids, the primary locus of Nizari communal memory in the period from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries was the declaration of the qiyāma (‘spiritual resurrection’) under Imam Hasan II in 1164.  It was only in the eighteenth century, when the Nizari Imams emerged from a long period of persecution and concealment, that we see the first signs of a de-emphasis of the qiyāma and a renewed focus within historical discourse on the Fatimid era.  In particular, the model of leadership exercised by the Imams in the Fatimid era came to be embraced in the nineteenth century as a precedent for their claims to social and spiritual authority beyond the immediate base of their Ismaili communities in Persia and in British India.

This reorientation of the locus of Nizari communal memory away from the qiyāma and towards the Fatimid era was facilitated by an even more dramatic shift in historical consciousness that saw a revision in the very notion of historical time.  While the notion of time in the Ismaili tradition has received some consideration in scholarship, to date these studies have focused almost entirely on presentations found in the ‘classical’ period of Ismaili literature from the Fatimid era, with little attention being given to the manner in which these conceptions have changed over the course of time or with consideration to the social and political contexts that informed these shifts.  In this paper I explore how the cyclical model of history presented in Ismaili works of the Fatimid era was revised in the light of the declaration of the qiyāma, and then ultimately discarded entirely in the new Nizari historiographical tradition established in the nineteenth century.  These developments facilitated a major shift in the place of the Fatimid era in the historical imagination of the Nizaris.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Beben on his latest publication!

Interview: Murphy on City, State & the Enlightenment in Poland, Ukraine & Belarus

31181086_9780822964629_xlProf. Curtis Murphy recently gave an interview about his forthcoming book, From Citizens to Subjects: City, State, and the Enlightenment in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus, with William Szuch, who hosts the UkeTube channel at YouTube, devoted to new books related to Ukraine.  Prof. Murphy’s book compares the transformations in urban society in regions of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which were acquired by Austria, Russia and Napoleon.  Enlightenment-era rulers believed that the state could bring about improvements in urban society and an economic revitalization of the region through rationalization and hierarchical control, but policies based on abstract principles and foreign models produced a host of unintended consequences, which undermined each regime’s stated priorities.  In the case of Ukraine, Russian rule, which aimed to “reintegrate” the new territories with the empire, instead fostered a separate Ukrainian identity and Ukrainian distinctiveness.  Prof. Murphy’s book will be published this June with the University of Pittsburgh Press.

To watch the interview, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjmBZtSTv4o&feature=youtu.be.

Publication: Beben on Saladin and the Crusades in Muslim Historical Memory

Saladin_the_Victorious

Happy New Year from HPRS!  We are pleased to announce the publication of a new article by Dr. Daniel Beben:

“Remembering Saladin: The Crusades and the Politics of Heresy in Persian Historiography”

This article is forthcoming with the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.  A pre-publication version may be accessed here:

Abstract:

In this study I examine the presentation of Saladin and the Crusades within the genre of Persian universal histories produced from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century.  While a number of recent studies have begun to explore the place of the Crusades in the historical memory of the Islamic world, to date little attention has been given to the question of the manner in which the ensuing Mongol conquests affected subsequent Muslim memory of the Crusades.  In this article I argue that historiographers of the Mongol and post-Mongol eras largely sought to legitimate the conquests through evocation of heresy and by celebrating the Mongols’ role in combating alleged heretical elements within Muslim society, most notably the Ismāʿīlīs.  While Saladin is universally remembered today first and foremost for his reconquest of Jerusalem from the Crusaders, within the context of the agenda of Persian historiography of the post-Mongol era the locus of his significance was shifted to his overthrow of the Ismāʿīlī Fatimid dynasty in Egypt, to the almost complete exclusion of his role in the Crusades.  This article challenges long-standing assumptions that the figure of Saladin was largely forgotten within the Muslim world until the colonial era, and instead presents an alternative explanation for the supposed amnesia in the Muslim world regarding the Crusades in the pre-modern era.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Beben on his latest publication!

Image credit: http://croisades.espaceweb.usherbrooke.ca/big_images/_images_en.htm

Publication: Griffin on Bureaucracy and Knowledge Creation in Early Modern Russia

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How do we communicate? The modern world has any number of communications technologies; you are reading this on one of them. But your communication device was not available to people in the early modern Russian empire, who still needed to exchange questions, answers, thoughts, and ideas. A new volume – Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 – considers the various ways in which official and unofficial communications were made in and around the Russian Empire. One chapter is by NU’s historian of science Clare Griffin, and deals with bureaucracy as communication. ‘Bureaucracy and Knowledge Creation: The Apothecary Chancery’ takes the Russian Empire’s official medical department, the Apothecary Chancery, as a case study, following that department’s involvement in a witchcraft trial, to show how paperwork making its way through that department linked together the knowledge of the medical practitioners with the concerns of the Russian bureaucrats, and circulated physicians’ answers to bureaucrats’ questions around the department, the Kremlin, and the broader Russian imperial bureaucracy.

Appropriate to the theme of communication, both Professor Griffin’s chapter, and the volume as a whole, are available as free, Open Access, pdfs. Get your copy here.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Griffin on her latest publication!

Publication: Bowen on Public Health and Venereal Disease

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new article by our HPRS colleague Dr. Elliott Bowen:

“Before Tuskegee: Public Health and Venereal Disease in Hot Springs, Arkansas”

The article has been published in the online peer-reviewed journal Southern Spaces and may be accessed here.

Paper abstract:

During the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, the American South was home to one of the world’s most renowned centers for the treatment of syphilis. Throughout this era, tens of thousands of syphilitic men and women sought treatment for their illnesses by traveling to the central Arkansas city of Hot Springs, whose near-boiling waters were thought to possess a therapeutic power capable of restoring the venereally-afflicted to health. Seeking to tap into its reputation as the “Mecca of the American Syphilitic,” in 1921 the United States Public Health Service (PHS) selected Hot Springs as the site of the country’s first federally-operated VD clinic. Over the course of the next two decades, more than 60,000 venereal health-seekers (black as well as white, male as well as female) received free treatment for syphilis and/or gonorrhea at this model PHS facility, and their experiences provide new insights into the class-based, racial, and gendered aspects of the federal government’s early twentieth-century public health work. Opened ten years before the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932-1972) began, the story of the Hot Springs clinic illustrates how forcefully eugenics pervaded the PHS’ campaigns against syphilis and gonorrhea.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Bowen on his recent publication!

News: HPRS is hiring!

The Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan invites applications for an open-rank faculty position in pre-modern Asian studies. The period and specialization are open, but preference will be given to candidates specializing in the history and/or religious and philosophical traditions of China and Inner Asia before 1644.

Successful senior applicants will be expected to have a demonstrated track record of excellence in teaching, research, and service. Applicants at the junior level will be expected to demonstrate potential for excellence in all three areas. Responsibilities include but are not limited to teaching classes (teaching load is 2+2 with TA support for large classes), curriculum and program development, and research. The position is available from August 2018. Contracts are for a period of three years and are renewable upon a positive review.

Nazarbayev University was launched in 2010 as a premier national and regional university, partnered with some of the most internationally-recognized names in Higher Education. The strategic partner of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Admission to NU is highly competitive and the students are the most academically gifted in Kazakhstan. Most students participate in the NU foundation year program, and thus enter the School of Humanities and Social Sciences with extensive English language training and academic preparation. SHSS programs emphasize student-oriented learning, with small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio of about 12:1. All classes are taught in English.

The History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies department includes 15 members and offers a major in History and minors in History and Philosophy/Religious Studies. All of its members publish actively.

Nazarbayev University offers an attractive benefits package, including:

  • competitive compensation;
  • housing based on family size and rank;
  • relocation allowance;
  • air tickets to the home country, twice per year;
  • no-cost medical insurance, with wide geographical coverage;
  • educational allowance for children.

NU values diversity and strongly encourages applications from women and other underrepresented minorities.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, current c.v., contact information of three referees, teaching evaluations, and a writing sample to hr.shss@nu.edu.kz by November 5, 2017. More information about the school is available at http://shss.nu.edu.kz. Questions related to the position, the university, or living and working in Astana can be sent to Nikolay Tsyrempilov, search committee chair (nikolay.tsyrempilov@nu.edu.kz).